Tag Archives: Australian Westerns

The Guns of Ben Hall – Part 3

9 Oct


Whiskey in the Jar / Krisenka Finley
A nice country interpretation.

These are the last of guns I’m going to profile from The Legend of Ben Hall.
There are others, but this particular firearm called the

Tranter Revolving Rifle

This seems to be a very rare gun. In fact, it was hard to find any images of it.
Because is uses a cylinder it looks like a pistol with long barrel and a stock.
Almost a buntline.

In the film we see John Gilbert (Jamie Coffa) mainly using it and, indeed,
when Gilbert was killed it’s said he had one on him.

It’s also claimed that this weapon – or a version of it – was used in the American Civil War.
though I don’t recall ever seeing depicted in any Civil War films?

Callisher and Terry .53 caliber breech loading Percussion Carbine

53 calibre??! Goodness. Look at the bore on that thing! 

That’s it for the guns. It’s interesting to me.
Hope you enjoyed it

The Guns of Ben Hall – Part 2

24 Sep


Whiskey in the Jar / The Seekers
The legendary Aussie Folk Group does the Honors.

Cap and Ball Revolvers

Ben (Jack Martin) with his .38 calibre Tranter revolver and a .36 calibre Colt Navy.

Don’t know how Ben acquired this. It likely wasn’t borrowed.

Let’s make some Bullets

Ingredients:
Lead; bullet moulds; fire.

Method:
Melt the lead.
Pour it into the mould.
Extract the bullet.

The lads are using Buckshot as a source of lead.
They seem to have two different moulds:
One for Round Shot and another for conventional Bullets.

Casting Roundball

Loading Cap and Ball

Ingredients:
Gunpowder; wadding; bullets; percussion caps.
Wadding is optional.

Method:

If it takes 30 seconds to load one chamber
then 5 chambers would take about 2:50.
An unacceptable amount of time in a gunfight.

Unloading Cap and Ball

Fire the gun.

Next:
The Guns of Ben Hall – Part 3

The Guns of Ben Hall – Part 1

19 Sep


Whisky in the Jar / The Brothers Four
Many versions of the great folk song.
This one is good.

Guns

Westerns have guns. Lotsa guns.
In fact, along with horses, it’s questionable whether it’s really a Western
if it doesn’t have guns in it. Or even worth watching.

Yet I don’t often profile Guns in the Westerns anymore. I stopped.
Not for Political, Social or Spiritual reasons. But because most Westerns use the same guns.
Over and over.
It just became redundant.
Ben Hall, however, has a few new (old) Guns that I’ve never seen before.
Let’s check ’em out.

Firstly, you might be wondering why Ben and his friends are bristling with a rather large number of firearms.
There was a good reason.
This was the Cap and Ball era. Pre-cartridge.
Re-loading was a timely exercise – very impractical during a fight.
Solution: carry lots of guns.

I’ll cover Cap and Ball loading and Bullet Making in my next post.

Below: One of Ben’s revolvers:
1856 Tranter .38 caliber, double trigger, five shot, percussion revolver.
A revolver of this make was found with Ben Hall
at the Billabong where he was killed.

Here’s it’s Cap and Ball Gun Kit.

1856 Tranter .38 caliber, double trigger, five shot, percussion revolver gun kit.
Unlikely Ben toted a kit around – but he definitely had all these tools.

May I now confess that I am no gun expert?
I cannot identify everything in this kit.
Though I was in the Calgary Highlanders Militia
and did a lot of shooting when I was kid, I don’t even own a gun now – of any kind.
And haven’t shot one in a long – except in computer games (Where I’m an expert).
Those of you out there who can ID the items in the kit please step forward.
There’s no reward, but I’ll be grateful.

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your guns was essential.
Otherwise jamming, misfires, fouling and other evils could occur.

Another of Ben’s revolvers:

Most of the gun images are from:
Ben Hall Gallery

https://www.benhallaustralianbushranger.com/p/placesmaps.html

Next:
Ben’s Hall’s Guns – Part 2

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 3

30 Aug


Stunning Soundtrack by Ronnie Minder. Haunting and powerful.

There’s lots of posters for The Legend of Ben Hall. But I discovered that some are made by fans.
If so, they’re damn good. I’m certain there’s no intention at deception. They just liked the movie.
I’ve created more than a few images myself for other Westerns that are circulating around the net.
I hope people like and enjoy them. Just for fun.

The third of the Preview Trailer of The Legend of Ben Hall:

Reviews

‘6 out of 10’? I don’t agree. But I’m often not in agreement with Critics.
I wouldn’t say that The Legend of Ben Hall is a Western Classic. But it’s a damn good Western and a well made Movie.
And I’ll watch it again. As I said, I think the average Western Fan would appreciate it.

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is probably the foremost Movie site on the Net. And it has a lot of good features.
One thing it doesn’t have though (that Rotten Tomatoes does) is an Audience Score.
Which I think is definitely important.
Below you can see why:
The Audience liked The Legend of Ben Hall. “79%“.
That’s a 30% difference with the Critics!!!
Myself I rate it 8 out of 10. 80%
The Audience and I agree!
So there.

Awards

Next:

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 4  

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 2

26 Aug

The irony of Ben Hall is that he seems to have been a decent chap. Not a thug.
Through misfortune he became a Bushranger.

Jack Martin was perfectly cast for the role of Ben Hall.

Next:

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 3

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 1

25 Aug

I’ve been trying to get hold of this movie for months.

Back in May I did a post called “6 New Westerns” and did a small preview of each. The Legend of Ben Hall was not new however – it had come out in 2016, but I hadn’t heard of it before.
My gut feeling was that this was a pretty good Western and Western fans would probably like it.

I found it to be a quality production all the way around.

Wikipedia says:
“Bushrangers were originally escaped convicts in the early years of the British settlement of Australia who had the survival skills necessary to use the Australian bush as a refuge to hide from the authorities. By the 1820s, the term “bushranger” had evolved to refer to those who abandoned social rights and privileges to take up “robbery under arms” as a way of life, using the bush as their base. Most were simply criminals and thieves.”

In the American Western we’d call these guys Outlaws.
BUT an Outlaw seems to be something different in the eyes of Australians.
Their distinction seems to be that you wouldn’t be referred to as an Outlaw until you had murdered someone.
Then, if caught, you would be hung. Prior to that it seems you could commit
almost any kind of skullduggery and would be jailed/imprisoned instead.
Though I’m sure the prisons of those days might have been worse than death.

The Legend of Ben Hall does not sugar coat Bushrangers. Ben Hall is not portrayed as a Hero.
And, at times, this is not a comfortable movie to watch.

A series of misfortunes forced him into the life of crime.
And according to this film it was a life of deep regret.

Despite being a Bushranger, Ben Hall definitely had certain lines he would never cross.
Killing a man of one of these.
And it’s believed that he never did.

A hell of story.

I couldn’t guess what the life expectancy of your average Bushranger might be.
But it was not likely very high.

Next:

The Legend of Ben Hall / Part 2

Dusters Down Under: Part 7: Quigley, Down Under: Part 3

20 Feb

Quigley Down Under
and the Sharps 1874 Model Rifle

Quigley ... down the barrel

E Arthur Brown

Quigley Sharps Rifle by Shiloh Sharps

“The Quigley® rifle itself was a custom conversion from a cavalry model breech loader and it retained the patch box and saddle ring from that incarnation. The older 1863 rifles shot non-metallic paper cartridges, loaded from the breech. The falling block served to slice off the end of the paper cartridge and expose the gun powder. The Quigley® 1874 conversion was rebarreled and re-worked to fire 45 calibre 110 grain metallic cartridges. The 45 -110 stands for 45 calibre and 110 grains of black powder … Authenticity is everywhere in this movie, including the time it takes for a heavy 45 calibre bullet to travel 1,000 yards AND the fact that it gets there a noticeable few moments before the sound of the shot can be heard by the bad guy who’s getting shot!
The Quigley® Rifle used in the actual movie was made by Shiloh Rifle company (Powder River Rifle Company). Its rumoured the movie production schedule had to wait in line three years for the rifle to be completed! After the movie it was donated by Tom Selleck to the NRA for a fund raising auction. In 2010, Powder River Rifle Company acquired the Quigley® trademark from Cimarron Firearms Company. See the actual rifle at ShilohSharps Rifles.”

Quigley and Sharps Demo - Rickman

Quigley and Sharps Demo

Quigley and Sharps Sight

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER bracket

“The Movie Is Magnificent – Tom Selleck makes the Quigley® character into a hero we all wish we could be. He wins the love of a beautiful girl, beats the bad guys with heroic American style, and introduces the audience to the deadly efficiency of Single Shot Rifles… See the Movie. Own the Gun!”

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Dusters Down Under: Part 7: Quigley, Down Under: Part 2

19 Feb

 – Quigley Down Under Soundtrack – Main theme: Basil Poledouris

“God created all men. Sam Colt made them equal.”
– Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck)

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QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Selleck

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Selleck 2

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER rifle bracket

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Selleck with Laura San Giacomo

Selleck with co-Star Laura San Giacomo

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Selleck with Laura San Giacomo 2

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Selleck with Laura San Giacomo 3

Cora: You know, if we’re lost, you can tell me.
Quigley: We’re lost.
Cora: I can take bad news. Just tell me straight.
Quigley: I don’t know where the hell we are.
Cora: No sense takin’ time to make it sound better than it is.
Quigley:  I reckon we’re goin’ in circles.

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER pistols 2

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Alan Rickman 3

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Alan Rickman

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Alan Rickman 2

“This ain’t Dodge City. And you ain’t Bill Hickok.”
– Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck)

From WIkipedia:

John Hill first began writing Quigley Down Under in 1978, and both Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood were considered for the lead, but by the time production began in 1980, McQueen was too ill and the project was scrapped. In the mid-1980s Tom Selleck heard of it and UAA got involved; the film was almost set up at Warner Bros with Lewis Gilbert as director but it fell over during pre-production. Simon Wincer then became director, who felt a good story had been ruined by numerous rewrites from people who knew little about Australian history, so he brought on Ian Jones as writer. They went back to the original draft, re-set it from the 1880s to the 1860s and made it more historically accurate.

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER IMDB review

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER Rotten Tomatoes review

Critics … ? way too low boys.

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER bracket

 

Dusters Down Under: Part 7: Quigley, Down Under: Part 1

18 Feb

I stumble out of the bush … flinging down the worthy ghost of Ned Kelly …
(I never thought he would be so heavy … maybe it’s that armour?)
I’m heading for desert and high country … the lands of crocodiles, the Aborigine, Snowy River, and the Outback …
3 Dusters await: Quigley, Down Under (1990), The Man from Snowy River (1982) and The Proposition (2005), Australian-style: ‘not necessarily in that order’ …  but who knows what the hell else is out here ???
Not me.

kangaroo

“There’s a price on his head,
A girl on his mind,
And a twinkle in his eye.”

“The West was never this far West.”

Quigley, Down Under (1990)

… this outta get some dust in my mouth.

Tom Selleck’s notable (and long anticipated) appearance in a Western worthy of his stature. We can now see why Speilberg wanted him for Indiana Jones – and are somewhat saddened that he hadn’t done more work like this up till now as Selleck seems to be one of those actors who was born to be a Cowboy.
Strange that it had to happen in Australia?

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER banner shot

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER poster 1

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER poster 2

No matter – it’s all good: A Classic.

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Dusters Down Under: Part 6: Mad Dogs and Hoppers …

13 Feb

the lost cowboy award

“Beaten, branded, brutalized, but never broken.”

“Ferociously violent – unexpectedly kind. Ruthless bandit or rebel hero? An outlaw’s outlaw with a score to settle.
The true story of the legendary Mad Dog Morgan… a jolting chapter in history.”

Mad Dog Morgan

You know all those stories about Dennis Hopper ?
They’re all true.
A true Hollywood madman and renegade  – and proof positive that nobody can die before their time – no matter how hard they try.

Black listed and black balled from Hollywood for his insane antics, massive substance abuse and irascible nature, he just wouldn’t stay down. And somehow along the way left a noticeable trail of pretty good work – even appearing in 2 or 3 Western Classics

Wikipedia: “The director (Director Philippe Mora) says that Hopper was a handful during the making of the film, constantly imbibing drink and drugs. However he says the actor could be very professional, a skilful improviser and gave a performance which was “really extraordinary. I think he identified with the role.” He “brought an insanity to the role, and an intensity that most actors would have found impossible to create”.

Director Philippe Mora: recalled that when they finished filming Hopper: “Rode off in costume, poured a bottle of O.P. rum into the real Morgan’s grave in front of my mother Mirka Mora, drank one himself, got arrested and deported the next day, with a blood-alcohol reading that said he should have been clinically dead, according to the judge studying his alcohol tests.”

(MFW: Yep … there’s some strong “identification’ going on here.)

__________________________________________________

Mad Dog Morgan (Fully Restored Director’s Cut) Movie Trailer:
In 2009 Philippe Mora released his Director’s Cut – greatly improving image quality and the overall movie.

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Incredibly, Hopper wasn’t the first choice for Morgan. Stacy KeachMartin SheenMalcolm McDowell and Alan Bates were all considered for the part. Keach was the first choice but disagreements meant his hiring fell through. Sheen was the second choice, and this casting too did not happen. Hopper finally was approached and did the part for 50,000 dollars.

Outside of Australia, this movie has been described an Australian Western. This movie actually won an award for Best Western at a Western Film Festival at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. A 2009 Director’s Cut re-edited and remastered much of the footage – greatly improving it’s viewability.

This movie is based on the real life and death of Australian bushranger Daniel Morgan. All filming was done in the actual locations of the real events. The film was made and released about two years after Margaret Carnegie’s source book ‘Morgan: The Bold Bushranger‘ was first published in 1974 –  based on twelve years of research. Carnegie is credited for the film for both story and research.

__________________________________________________

MFW: I wouldn’t say Mad Dog Morgan is everybody’s bottle of rum (Morgan’s?). There are a some fairly graphic scenes in there and some of the movie making shows … edges. But there’s also some very good scenes and Hopper is almost mesmerizing in his maniacal presence and acting.

Mad Dog Morgan

Mad Dog Morgan and Dennis Hopper

Mad Dog and Hopper

The mythology of Australian bush-ranger Daniel Morgan says that Morgan was legendary for carrying eight revolvers, two in his hands and six on his belt.

Mad Dog Morgan at rest

Mad Dog dead … with a rather large pistol

Plaque

From:
Bushrangers – Australian outlaws in the 1800’s
http://bushrangersau.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/mad-dog-morgan.html

Mad Dog Morgan
1830 – 1865

“We know him as Mad Dog Morgan but he was a man of many aliases. His known criminal record began in 1854 when, under the name “John Smith”, he was sentenced to twelve years’ hard labour for highway robbery at Castlemaine, Victoria. When he was released from jail he had a hatred of authority and become Australia’s public enemy No 1.

After his 3rd murder the reward for Morgan’s capture was raised to £1000 and police were sent to track and capture him.”

Apparently, the real-life Daniel Morgan’s real name at birth was John Fuller. He was also apparently known as Jack Fuller and John Smith as well as the nicknames of Billy the Native and Down-the-River Jack. There is also some debate as to his “Mad” nickname i.e. as Mad Dog or as Mad Dan.

______________________________________________

This film is considered an Ozploitation picture, an Australian exploitation movie.

Ozploitation (a portmanteau of Australia and exploitation) films are a type of low budget horror, comedy and action films made in Australia after the introduction of the R rating in 1971. The year also marked the beginnings of the Australian New Wave movement, and the Ozploitation style peaked within the same time frame (early 1970s to late 1980s). Ozploitation is often considered a smaller wave within the New Wave, “a time when break-neck-action,schlock-horror, ocker comedy and frisky sex romps joined a uniquely antipodean wave in exploitation cinema”

Coming Up:
Dennis Hopper Western Filmography:

Dusters Down Under – Part 5: Ned Kelly (2003) …

10 Feb

“I’ve never shot a man, but if I do, so help me God,
you’ll be the first!” – Ned Kelly (Heath Ledger)

Poor Ned by Redgum

Ned Kelly Banner

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This will be the last of the Kelly movies that I’m covering. It was generally well received and reviewed. It’s main interest for us is the notable cast of Heath Ledger. Orlando BloomGeoffrey Rush and Naomi Watts.

Internet Movie Database IMDB gives it a 6.5 out of 10. Rotten Tomatoes, 56%. I think it warrants a 7. I believe time will be more generous to this movie. Not a bad movie at all.

IMDB review

Rotten Tomatoes review

Metacritic review

Ned Kelly 2003 poster

Ned Kelly 2003 poster 2

Ned Kelly 2003 poster 3

The Kelly Gang ?? evidently a name change took place …

A movie which clearly favours the image of Kelly as the hero – not the villain.

I have a general theory about movies where the Hero dies at the end – that this usually hurts the popularity of the movie – often in a large way. Tom Horn, for instance, I believe would have been a much more popular (maybe even a Classic) Western had Steve McQueen hadn’t been hung at the end – even though this was true to fact. In Westerns, it seems people want their Heroes to ride off into the sunset … not hang from a tree. But due to the political and social ramifications of Ned Kelly – which are actually magnified by his execution – plus the fact that it is a much better known story – Ned Kelly seems to smash my theory all to bits. It’s a different animal.

Ledger and Bloom are both competent actors and have no trouble doing the heavy lifting to carry the movie. Ledger fails in physically looking like Kelly (IMO), but is strong otherwise. Geoffrey Rush is our villian which seems similar to his role he later played in Les Miserables (2012) as the tenacious Inspector Thenardier. Rush is special actor and does his usual excellent work.

Naomi Watts inclusion is the film is dubious – and questionable as an historic event – it seems merely to be included to create a romantic interest. I can understand the intent, but …

On another tack, I feel the movie suffers for the same reason most of the Kelly movies suffer – in not being able to tell Kelly’s story as fully as it should be in just 110 min – where some interesting parts of Kelly’s story are purely glossed right over – such as the making of his famous armour. (But perhaps little is known about that??) But waiting for the perfect Kelly movie is likely something that will never happen.

Neds Gun 1

Heath Ledger / 1979 – 2008

Heath Ledger

Orlando Bloom

orlando bloom

Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush

Neds Guns

Coming up:
Dusters Down Under: Mad Dog Morgan, Snowy River, Quigley Down Under … 

The Thring thing …

7 Feb

Frank Thring 2

Looking waaay down the Casting credits for Ned Kelly (1970)I noticed a name that seems almost buried down there. Possibly hiding. “FRANK THRING – as Judge Sir Redmond Barry”

Frank Thring

?????????????????

Frank Thring … A Man Who Could Deliver a Line

When you see some pics of Frank Thring, you’ll recognize him right away as he was a famous Heavy in several epic flicks including: Ben Hur (as Pontius Pilote); King of Kings (as Herod); The Vikings (evil King Aella); and others …

Ben Hur Frank Thring with Heston

Ben Hur Frank Thring

Littering … Roman style

Frank Thring - The Vikings

Littering … Viking style

Thring was an Australian and his family was steeped in the Film and Theatre trade so Acting came naturally to him – soon operating his own Theatre troupe – before heading to England to star with the likes of Olivier in Shakespearean productions and plenty of renowned Stage work – as you can surely tell by his imperial demeanour and powerful projection.

In most of his films, Thring was definitely (typecast) the villain. And what a villain he was – playing some of the most heinous people in history: Herod; Pontius Pilate … the stature of his roles as evil emperors, kings, politicians, etc. seeming to amplify this evil persona – and you can’t get much more evil than being the guy responsible for executing Jesus. One wonders if Thring didn’t have a difficult time just walking down the street.

Frank Thring in Ned Kelly 1970

Ned Kelly is not the only Western style movie that Thring appeared in. He’s in another Aussie Western called Mad Dog Morgan (1976) which stars Dennis Hopper (which I will cover later). As a Bad Guy in both per usual.

Mad Dog Morgan poster 2

Frank Thring Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frank-Thring/108730252484822

The Frank Thring Website: http://users.tpg.com.au/editline/thring.html

Dusters Down Under: Part 4: Ned Kelly (1970) …

6 Feb

Wild Horses / Stones

Ned ... the truth________________________________________________________

I feel it’s safe to say that at this point, that no definitive film depiction of Ned Kelly has yet been made. It would take a protracted mini-series to tell his whole story properly – as it spans many years and many events.
There have been some good documentaries, but …
The question still remains: Was Ned Kelly a Hero? or a villain?
I believe Kelly was a pretty rough character and certainly a law breaker. And he and his family were definitely on negative terms with the authorities/police – for quite a while – whose own behaviour seems to have been much less than honourable or praiseworthy.
Wrongs and bad blood on both sides – leading to an inevitable conflict – which Kelly, and his gang, could not win.
You might say however, that Kelly extracted his ‘pound of flesh’ – and made his point – before he left.
His courage and bravado are admired by many in spite of what may be acknowledged as dastardly deeds.
Kelly Historians and experts often simply present their evidence and leave us to decide for ourselves.
_________________________________________

More Kelly

After 1960 a fistful of Kelly movies were made. Some are parodies/comedies which would really mean little to us over here – not being as immersed – or inundated (as it were) – in Kelly culture and lore as our friends Down Under. Therefore, I will not cover those here, but I look to 2 well known – and interesting – takes on Kelly’s tale:
Ned Kelly (1970) starring Mick Jagger
and Ned Kelly (2003) with Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush …

Ned Kelly (1970)

It’s amazing how many actors and entertainers successfully jump from music to the movies. Over the years a large number of singers, pop artists, crooners, Rock Stars, County Music entertainers, etc. have all made the leap: Sinatra, Streisand, Kristofferson, Dean Martin, Timberlake … Liza Minnelli, J Lo, Bing Crosby, Elvis (gulp), … it’s actually a very long list, with some not only becoming very good actors and Stars, but winning Oscars: Sinatra, Streisand, Minnelli, Crosby, Cher (what!?) …

But it doesn’t always work that way. Right Mr. Dylan?

So here we have Mick Jagger seemingly cast out of nowhere as Ned Kelly (Albert Finney was Director Richardson’s first choice – but not available).
Jagger has actually appeared in over 25 movies since 1966. He’s persistent if nothing else, but even if he did have some degree of charisma on the Big Screen, his acting is … well, bad. And though Jagger is photogenic enough in stills, this charisma does not translate when the pictures are moving.

Plain and simple: if you’re going to be the Star in a movie, you better be able to shine.
Most of us would do no better – but it just wasn’t there. 

Strangely, Mick did not do the soundtrack for the movie- singing only one track “The Wild Colonial Boy.” But that’s another story – with several people bailing out – the task eventually falling to a song writer named Shel Silverstein, and singing done mainly by either Waylon Jennings or Kris Kristofferson – who were not established music stars as of yet. Interesting.

Overall Ned Kelly (1970) is often viewed as a mere curiosity. And if Jagger wasn’t in it, it might never be viewed at all.

Reviews:

Ned Kelly 1970 IMDB

Ned Kelly 1970 Rotten Tomatoes

Stick to Rock & Roll Mick.

But there’s no need to have sympathy (for the devil) because Jagger surely has carved out a place in the entertainment industry amongst the greatest Rock & Roll stars of all time. And still going.

The Last Time / Stones 

Posters:

If only the movie was as good as the posters …

Ned Kelly 1970 - Mick 1

Ned Kelly 1970 - Mick 2

Ned Kelly 1970 - Mick 3

Ned Kelly 1970 - Mick 4

Ned Kelly 1970 - Mick 5

Coming up:
Dusters Down Under Part 5: Ned Kelly (2003) … 

Dusters Down Under: Part 3: Ned Kelly / 1906 to 1960 …

4 Feb

I’m going to move through the Kelly movies movie right up to 1960:

The Kelly Gang (1920)
When The Kellys Were Out (1923) 
When The Kellys Rode (1934) 
The Glenrowan Affair (1951)
Stringybark Massacre (1960)

The Kelly Gang 1920

The Kelly Gang (1920)

One Image (above)

From Iron Outlaw http://www.ironoutlaw.com/html/movies.html

Director: Harry Southwell
Cast: Godfrey Cass … as Ned Kelly

“Welsh-born filmmaker Charles Southwell had a vision: to present the great drama of the Kelly saga on the Australian screen. He laboured at this task for 15 years, producing three films of indifferent quality along the way – The Kelly Gang, When the Kellys Were Out, and When The Kellys Rode. Southwell’s endeavours were hampered by political sensitivities, with any pro-Kelly material liable to be banned.”

When The Kellys Were Out (1923) 

No images – No posters.

Australian State Records Website: http://gallery.records.nsw.gov.au/index.php/galleries/50-years-at-state-records-nsw/5-05/

Australian film censorship in the 1920s:
“…no official encouragement whatever should be given to moving picture promoters to attempt to make a hero of a criminal.”

In accordance with the relevant regulations, the film had to be submitted for approval by the Censor Board. As this correspondence shows, despite some differences of opinion, permission to screen the film for the public was not granted, even though the company had made a number of changes following initial rejection by the Board.
The authorities were well aware that the exploits of the gang endured in the public imagination, despite the passage of forty years. The Board’s concerns about the possible glorification of outlaws (and consequent ‘corruption of public morals’) meant that it could be difficult to obtain permission to screen any film that featured bushrangers, particularly the Kellys.

When The Kellys Rode (1934) 

Several excellent Posters

when the kellys rode
when the kellys rode 2when the kellys rode 3
The Glenrowan Affair (1951)

No posters – No images

The Glenrowan Affair – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

It was Rupert Kathner’s final film and stars VFL star Bob Chitty as Kelly. It was known as one of the worst films ever made in Australia.

The film was given its first screening in Victoria at Benalla. Townspeople were worried relatives of the Kellys would cause trouble. However, the screening was accompanied by audience laughter. Nonetheless the screening raised ₤400 for charity.

Reviews: – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“This near-unendurable stretch of laboured, amateurish film-making is something that the developing Australian film industry will wish to forget-swiftly and finally … A film made on a shoe-string (as this obviously was) could still achieve a little crude vitality. This one isn’t even robust enough for the unconscious humour (and there is plenty of that) to be really enjoyable. The script is dreary, the photography more often out of-focus than in, the editing is unimaginative and the acting petrified. It would be misplaced kindness, in fact, to try and ferret out a redeeming feature.”

Stringybark Massacre (1960) 

No posters – No images

Director: Gary Shead

Garry Shead’s avante-guard filmmaking techniques result in a stylish re-creation of the murder of three police officers at Stringybark, Victoria by Australian bush outlaw, Ned Kelly.

NEXT:
Dusters Down Under Part 4: The Kelly Movies 1960 to present … 

Dusters Down Under: Part 2: The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

2 Feb

“A thrilling moving picture from start to finish
The Most Sensational, The Most Thrilling and Interesting LIVING PICTURES EVER TAKEN.”

ned kelly song … waylon jennings

the story begins

Wikipedia: The Story of the Kelly Gang is a 1906 Australian film that traces the life of the legendary infamous outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly (1855–1880). It was written and directed by Charles Tait. The film ran for more than an hour, and at that time was the longest narrative film yet seen in the world. Its approximate reel length was 4,000 feet …

the story of the ned kelly gang poster

There are only about ten minutes the of film left. Many rolls of damaged film were found in an old barn which was once the family home of the Crews in Yarraville, Victoria. The roles were sent to Canberra but they were unable to recover most of the footage. In November 2006 the National Film and Sound Archive made a new digital copy of the movie. This has 11 minutes of extra film which was discovered in the United Kingdom. The movie now is 17 minutes long. It has the main scene of the Kelly’s fight with the police at Glenrowan (called the Kelly’s Last Stand).

ned kelly and gang

practicing

shooting sidesaddle

ned in his armour

Ned in his famous armour

neds's end

ned stamp

ned kelly armour

Dusters Down Under Part 3: The Kelly Movies cont … 

Dusters Down Under: Part 1… Frontiers and Kelly

30 Jan

The Vanishing Frontier ??

waltzing matilda …

Although there’s still good chunks of unspoiled country out there, I think it’s generally felt that the American Western Frontier is gone. That’s only partially correct. If you check any map, you will see that huge areas of Montana, Oregon, Washington and the Central US States (the Mid West) still have plenty of wild areas where there are few roads, few people, and little development – much is still uncluttered and unspoiled. Further, we might mention Alaska and other North American habitat such as in Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territory – all sparely peopled. map of US and Canada

But the American and Canadian frontiers are not the ONLY frontiers on this planet. One other such place – which still has a ton of Frontier and an Old West history to boot – is Australia – and it’s Outback. Australia

And over the years several excellent Western style movies have emerged from this frontier Down Under, including a couple of Western Classics. Let’s have a look.

So far, my research has uncovered about 25 Western style movies made in Austrailia – dating all the way back to 1906! Yeah.

The Ned Kelly Industry

 “It is not that I fear death. I fear it as little as to drink a cup of tea … Let the hand of the law strike me down if it will; but I ask my story be heard and considered.”

ned kelly


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Most of you will not be surprised to discover that about half of these Western style movies made in Australia are about the famous Australian Outlaw, Ned Kelly, and his gang.

The Australian media on Ned Kelly is staggering: movies, films, documentaries, websites, TV shows, books, comic books, merchandise, coins, statues, toys … on and on.

Despite our obvious fascination with Outlaws (Billy the Kid (23 movies), Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, (many more) there are other reasons for Kelly’s high profile in Australia. Firstly, due to Australia’s short history his exploits and adventures stand out. Secondly, he is Iconic in Australia – he fits Australian mood and attitude like a glove (or suit of armour) – the common (underdog) man pitted and rebelling against an overbearing dictatorial force – the Brits. Australians – many of whom are ancestors of prisoners sent here by the British – still have a large angst against stuffy authority of any kind – particularly if it’s British. Check their national anthem, for instance, Walzing Matilda, which depicts a lowly hobo (a swagman) being set upon by the police – whereby he commits suicide rather than be taken prisoner. Ned Kelly IS that swagman – to a T – who also sacrificed himself for his brothers and fellowman and Freedom. This mindset carries through to this very day and can be readily seen in such movies as Crocodile Dundee – a modern day unpretentious hero and bush ranger who’d rather share a drink with doorman than ride in a stretch limo, Mate. And though not all Australians share the view that Kelly as a sort of Australian Robin Hood, it’s safe to say that many surely do strongly relate with with his character and his cause – the rugged individual battling again injustice and oppression.

 I Won’t Back Down – Johnny Cash

All this being said the same problems that have risen with other celebrity outlaws – most notably Billy the Kid – arise with Kelly – the mixture of fact and fiction. A rather large gulf may existed between what is legend, and what is the truth? The depiction of Kelly most often appears to be sympathetic – and maybe that is just. Several documentaries have attempted to uncover the true Ned Kelly. But I won’t be covering those here. I’m just looking at the movies. Otherwise this could turn into and extra long expedition. 

For info on Kelly this Website looks pretty good:

Iron Outlaw website: http://www.ironoutlaw.com/html/history_01.html – perhaps the definitive source and resource of all things Ned Kelly.

Coming up:

Dusters Down Under Part 2: The Kelly Movies … 

Coming up on My Favorite Westerns! … Lonesome Dove: Gus and Woodrow through the ages … also Westerns Down Under/Aussie Dusters …

16 Jan
GUS AND WOODROW

GUS AND WOODROW / DUVALL AND JONES

“People just ne’er git tired of us …”
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Quigley Downunder

WESTERNS DOWNUNDER

Kaboooom ! Aussie Style !

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